Sheri writes: My cat has a cyst just under his left ear. It started out as a lump, and has grown to be a dangling sac. I want this thing gone. The veterinarian says it’s fine to stay, and the issue is that he can’t be put under because of his heart murmur. Is the procedure different in animals than in humans? I am a technician, working for a physician who delegates small mass removals to us. Every cyst removal I have ever done on a human was performed under local anesthesia. Can that not be done with a cat? Holding him is not an issue, he is a very calm cat and I’m sure I can hold him while she injects him with the local. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Sheri, as I see it you have four options:
One, you could just leave it alone. If your veterinarian has determined it isn’t harmful, and she is concerned about surgical stress for your kitty, that sounds like the safest route. You must also consider that local anesthesia doesn’t eliminate stress. If he becomes agitated during the procedure there will be strain on the heart.
Two, your pet’s doctor may be uncomfortable with local anesthesia simply because it not the first mode of anesthesia veterinary general practitioners think of. We have a tendency to administer sedation or general anesthesia to all of our patients, mainly because they have a tendency to squirm. Humans, of course, can be told to be still, but telling pets things doesn’t yield much result. If you haven’t asked her about using a local with a light sedative to perform the procedure, ask. She might be willing.
Third, you could ask for a referral to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. As a group, they frequently remove masses for histopathology, and would likely be willing to remove this one with a local.
Fourth, a board-certified veterinary general surgeon would be just as comfortable as most dermatologists with using local anesthesia to remove the growth.
As for holding him yourself, don’t be offended when your pet’s doctor asks you to leave that task to her staff. It’s a matter of liability and your safety.
MyPetsDoctor.com readers and I will be interested in knowing which route you choose.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.